If you’ve ever wondered how to get the media to treat you like an expert, then you’re not alone. Many times, you’ve probably seen a news story and thought, “Wow, that could be me.” And, you would not be wrong. You can be the go-to expert to the media as long as you position yourself as the expert in advance.
Build Relationships in Advance – Normally, you can’t just become an expert without laying a foundation. Follow relevant journalists and reporters that cover your niche and stories like yours on social media. Interact with them; if they ask questions or start discussions, take part in them. Get to know them and let them get to know you.
Define Your Story – Work on defining your story so that you can cut it down to one or two sentences that have meaning. The right words will elicit curiosity while also letting the media know about you enough to want to know more.
Hold Events – The media loves events. Plus, they give you an opportunity to show off your expertise. If you can plan an event that is free or paid where people show up, send out a press release to the journalists and reporters that you’ve built relationships with. This can give them a taste of how you work.
Never Cold Call – Journalists and reporters don’t like it when people call them without any provocation. If they’ve asked for sources, or just told a story that is relevant, send them a message through email before calling. They’ll call you if they want to talk to you. If you have inside information that’s of utmost importance, you can make an exception.
Know Who to Contact – It’s imperative that you know who to contact. Sending out generic press releases and blindly emailing editors doesn’t work. You need to contact certain individuals who will be interested in your story because that’s their subject matter and job. Ask yourself, what’s in it for them, because they’re going to ask you and you need to know the answer.
Pitch Only Relevant Stories – Never pitch stories that are irrelevant. Find ways to make your story applicable. If you’ve heard of the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” then you get the idea. Find a connection and use that connection to make your pitch.
Answer Their Queries for Experts – Sometimes reporters and journalists need experts to answer questions. If you’ve made a personal relationship with some, they will start calling on you if you’ve done a good job letting them know. You can also join an organization called HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
Always Say Yes – Media work on short deadlines. Because of this fact, you should be prepared to always say yes to questions. Don’t worry; most of them are busy too so they won’t keep you longer than they must. But, you’ll endear yourself to them enough that when you have a story you want to be covered, they’ll show up.
Become a Favored Source – By always being there for the reporters that you make personal contact with, especially locally, you can easily become a favored source and find yourself being quoted all the time. This is a good place to be in that may take some time to develop, but if you work at it, it’ll happen.
Your expertise status might not happen overnight, but the more you connect and build relationships and say yes when a reporter or journalist wants to interview you, the faster it will happen.
Empathy is a valuable skill to have that can enable you to be more successful in life. If you have ever come across an individual whom you would describe as a “people person”, chances are it’s because they have a high degree of empathy.
What Is Empathy?
Empathy refers to the ability to relate to another person’s feelings vicariously, as if one has experienced that feeling themselves. It can be joy, pain, loss and so on. It is like putting yourself into another person’s shoes.
Why Is Empathy Important?
Empathy is often referred to as emotional intelligence (EI) – the ability to understand the emotions of others. Studies have shown that those with the highest performance ratings at work tend have the highest level of EI, or empathy, while those with the lowest ratings tend to have the lowest levels of EI.
That being the case, we can see that empathy can help us succeed not just in our personal relationships, but our business relationships as well.
Developing Your Empathy to Boost Your Success
There are a number of ways to develop your empathy.
1. Look for good role models
Consider all the people you deal with every day. Who seems to be more of a people person than others? What do they say and do that would indicate this? Look for examples of how they show empathy and start to emulate them.
2. Deal with your stress levels
Most of us are not at our best when we are stressed. We are focused on ourselves, not on others, which means we will be less than empathetic. Good self-care means space to care about others and practice empathy.
3. Be a cheerleader
Celebrate the successes of others. It will help people feel appreciated and play to their strengths rather than their weaknesses.
4. Avoid the blame game
Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t blame people or scapegoat them. Have the empathy to realize we all make mistakes.
5. Pay attention when people express their emotions
When a person expresses their emotions, they are usually looking for empathy. They might also just be blowing off steam and looking for a sympathetic ear. Pay attention to what is being said, but without trying to “solve the problem”. Listening will often be enough.
6. Watch out for body language
Researchers estimate that up to 75% of our communication occurs through non-verbal means, commonly referred to as body language, and through facial expression. Learning more about body language can tell you if there is a mismatch between what the person is saying and what their body language is telling you.
Also, be aware of your own body language, which can damage the impression of empathy if you are not careful. For example, turning away from someone may appear that you are not interested in what they have to say, even though you might actually be doing it because you are self-conscious about your breath after eating garlic bread at lunch.
When people don’t face each other, they tend to lose vital visual clues conveyed through facial expressions, which means neither of them are really connecting fully and getting the whole picture.
Giving our full attention to someone shows empathy because it indicates we value them and what they have to say.
7. Study online
There are many websites devoted to empathy and EI that can help you learn how to read people better. Take the quizzes available to see what your level of EI is. Follow the suggestions the quiz makes as to how you can improve.
8. Practice in real life
Once you have assessed your level of skill, create a checklist from the suggestions and practice doing them in real life.
Now that we’ve talked about what empathy is and how it can be useful in every aspect of life, take steps to develop empathy and see what a difference it can make to your success personally and professionally.
If you’re a consultant, a coach, a trainer or an author (and a lot of professions in between), speaking events will boost your brand and sales almost effortlessly. There are many reasons, but one of which is how you’re perceived as more of an expert if you can get up in front of people and talk about it.
Meet More Future Clients – When you go to any type of event, you’ll be able to meet more future clients in person. But, when you speak, they’ll be waiting to meet you and be excited when you speak to them. As one of the so-called VIPs of the event since you’re a speaker, your attention will mean even more to the attendees than if you were another attendee.
Enables You to Sell Your Materials – When you join an event and agree to speak, usually you’re allowed to promote your offering during your speech as well as set up a table outside the speaking venue to encourage more sales. If you have a book, you’ll be able to sell a lot more signed copies than if you did not go to the event.
Some Speaking Events Pay – You can boost your income simply by taking paid speaking events. Paid events can be quite lucrative and often include travel, hotel accommodations and food plus money for speaking. This can lead to thousands in additional revenue each year.
Improve Your Networking – The more events you can attend, the more you’ll be able to network in person with people. It is a wonderful way to meet people. Even with online events, there is typically a chat room available. If you attend other people’s speeches, it’s nice to chat with the attendees between events.
Enable You to Get Sponsors – When you do public speaking, you can get sponsors to help support your tour if you decide to do one. Contact the brands that you want to represent and ask them. If you have experience as a speaker to show them, that will work better. However, often if you get on their radar due to your success they’re going to ask you.
You Can Even Do It from Home – Today, due to online conference software like Zoom.us, GoToWebinar.com and not to mention the advent of Facebook Live, you can perform public speaking events right from home if you want to. This is a great way to boost your brand and get more business.
Increase Subscribers to Your Mailing List – When you do public speaking events, there will be some people who will reach out to you automatically. But, if you incentivize them by offering them a special offer that only they get, you’ll build your list even faster.
Boost Your Expertise Quotient – The fact is, most people are so terrified of public speaking that it’s just like writing a book in terms of boosting how people perceive you. If you’re up there speaking, you must be an expert.
Speaking will also provide some personal benefits that you may not have considered previously. For example, a job well done will boost your own confidence in yourself. You’ll feel more assured and feel more satisfied with your abilities to think on your feet and get things done.
Every business has a growth process and priorities. The basic process is this: first you come into existence, then you reach the survival stage, finally moving on to the success stage of your business where you kind of stay at a status quo of success. At this point, owners feel as if they have it all figured out and can sort of skate on the processes set up.
It can stay this way a long time, but usually a business like this eventually experiences a take-off period where delegation is important. This is because many businesses suffer during this part of the growth stage due to lack of planning and fun.
Eventually, with the right plans and priorities in place, the business will again reach a sort of status quo and seem to run itself. But, how do you get there? First, you must set priorities.
Financial Resources – What are the financial resources that you have for the business? Can you identify immediate cash as well as emergency cash? Set a real budget for everything you need through startup and maintaining as you grow.
Personal Resources – In addition, identify the human resources that you have available to you for the business. If you’re not going to hire people, are you using outsourcers or contractors? If so, consider them resources to you.
System Resources – Take note of all the technology you have available or can afford to purchase for your business. Knowing where you want to go will help you make good choices about the technology you want to invest it. Systems like an autoresponder, a project management system, a customer relationship management system are all important.
Business Resources – This is everything you have available to your business to use that isn’t personal in nature at all. Make a list of the things you have and what you need to buy. Setting a budget based on your financial resources is an important part of deciding what types of business resources you can buy if you need to buy anything.
Once you’ve identified these factors for the company, you can set priorities for yourself.
What Are Your Goals for the Business?
This is not the time to think about a short-term goal. This is the time you write down your big goal that might seem just like a dream. Where do you ultimately want your business to go? Do you want to build it big then sell it? Do you want to pass it on to your kids? Do you want to stop the business when you retire? This is important because it will inform how you set things up and what steps you do each day to bring your goals to fruition.
What Are Your Abilities?
It’s also important to determine what your abilities are. Are you great at project management, marketing, or something else? What parts of your big goal do you need assistance with? These things are going to help you have smooth growth.
How Good Are You at Delegating?
If you want to grow a business past the point that you’re running it alone, then you need to get good at delegation. That means you need to be able to provide instructions to someone and then let them do their job. This helps avoid bottlenecks where people feel the need to get permission for everything. Set up systems, then let your people do their jobs.
What Are Your Weaknesses?
Write down anything you think you’re weak at doing. If you’re weak in an area, it’s not a bad thing – as long as you notice it. For example, if you’re not good with technology, that could stop your growth if you’re afraid to upgrade to a system that will work better for you.
How Can You Fix Weaknesses?
For a business to experience growth without breaking down, it’s imperative that as a business owner you’re always cognizant of each spoke in each wheel of your business. Otherwise, you can fail at a successful business when that’s not necessary. Keep your growth priorities in mind and focus on one thing at a time.
Choosing your growth priorities requires you to consider all aspects of your business, from today to where you want to go.